A Higher Note : Is Your Talent Good Enough?

It is said that Beverly Sills once told aspiring opera singers that if they could stand to do something else for their full-time occupation, they should. We agree. But while hoping for a lucrative singing career is one thing, singing because you love to sing is another. The Rilke quote below expresses this timeless principle perfectly.

You ask whether your verses are good. You ask me. You have asked others before. You send them to magazines. You compare them with other poems and you are disturbed when certain editors reject your efforts. Now (since you have allowed me to advise you) I beg you to give up all that. You are looking outward, and that above all you should not do now. No person on earth can counsel and help you, nobody. There is only one single way. Go into yourself. Search for the reason that bids you write; find out whether it is spreading out its roots in the deepest places of your heart, acknowledge to yourself whether you would have to die if it were denied you to write. This above all—ask yourself in the stillest hour of your night: must I write? Delve into yourself for a deep answer. And if this should be affirmative, if you may meet this earnest question with a strong and simple “I must,” then build your life according to this necessity; your life even into its most indifferent and slightest hour must be a sign of this urge and a testimony to it.

Quote from LETTERS TO A YOUNG POET by Rainer Maria Rilke